City Research Online

“I can't express my thanks enough”: The “gratitude cycle” in online communities

Makri, S ORCID: 0000-0002-5817-4893 and Turner, S (2019). “I can't express my thanks enough”: The “gratitude cycle” in online communities. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, doi: 10.1002/asi.24257

Abstract

Gratitude is a fundamental aspect of social interaction that positively influences emotional and social well-being. It is also crucial for promoting online community health by motivating participation. However, how gratitude occurs and can be encouraged in online communities is not yet well understood. This exploratory study investigated how online community users experience gratitude, focusing on how gratitude expression and acknowledgment occurs, can break down or can be reinforced. Semistructured Critical Incident interviews were conducted with 8 users of various online communities, including discussion and support groups, social Q&A sites, and review sites, eliciting 17 memorable examples of giving and receiving thanks online. The findings gave rise to a process model of gratitude in online communities—the “gratitude cycle,” which provides a detailed, holistic understanding of the experience of gratitude online that can inform the design of online community platforms that aim to motivate users to perpetuate the cycle. An enriched understanding of gratitude in online communities can help ensure future platforms better support the expression and acknowledgment of thanks, encouraging participation.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Makri, S and Turner, S (2019). “I can't express my thanks enough”: The “gratitude cycle” in online communities. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/asi.24257. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
Publisher Keywords: Gratitude, thanks, prosocial behavior, online community participation
Subjects: Q Science > QA Mathematics > QA75 Electronic computers. Computer science
Departments: School of Mathematics, Computer Science & Engineering > Computer Science
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/22368
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